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Social Innovation in Rural Areas

Explore applications of social innovation in rural areas and discover best practices for managing social innovation projects.

2,883 enrolled on this course

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Social Innovation in Rural Areas

2,883 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 6 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Use social innovation to improve conditions in disadvantaged rural areas

On this course, you’ll learn what social innovation is, how it can best be supported and where innovation efforts should be concentrated. You’ll specifically focus on the challenges facing rural areas.

You’ll be introduced to a range of approaches for actioning social innovation initiatives as you explore the role of communities and society in innovation development.

Using global case-studies, you’ll analyse new approaches proposed by 26 partners involved in the EU H2020 research project, SIMRA. You’ll explore the findings of the project, led by the project partners themselves.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 677622.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds [Music] Bill, the other day we visited the Community Garden in Tarland, in North-East Scotland We had it described as social innovation. What actually is social innovation? Well, for me, social innovation is all about reconfiguring social practices These practices could be about creating new networks, new institutions, new government’s arrengement to address some of the grand societal challenges of our time and in our MOOC we are looking at social innovation and trying to build it around good practice examples and we would love you to join us on this course to learn all about social innovation But learn by engaging with real examples on the ground. Rose, what are the characteristics of social innovations?

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds There are many ways in which we can characterise social innovation For example, the geographical location where the social innovation develops, or the sectors that are true involved, whether that be forestry, agriculture or health A particularly important characteristic of social innovation is the way that social practices are changed For example the way that civil society may become involved If you would like to find out more about the characteristics of social innovation and its diversity, we would like to share this with you in Activity 2 of this course. Marijke, can you tell us about social innovations with the characteristics about which we have now learned? Sure we can!

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds There are different good and interesting examples of social innovation in practice, in different countries, on different themes, at different levels and scales… And we, as SIMRA, give you an inside in this, and you can reflect upon this from your own perspectives Elena, from your work with social innovations, have you got any guidance on how best operationalised them? Yes, the processes of social innovation design and implementation are presented in the course with some examples and practical recommendations Laura, once social innovations are up and running, are there any ways in which we can monitor and evaluate their success? Yes, in SIMRA we believe we can.

Skip to 2 minutes and 24 seconds We developed an innovative and flexible set of methods to evaluate social innovation and its impacts in rural areas in this module we will show you how to apply it Alice, is there support from public policy for these types of social innovations? Yes, policies can support social innovation and we, in SIMRA, have examined the question on how policies can foster social innovation, how take and handle social innovation, and we have developed recommendations for policies in support of social innovation We have heard of different aspects of social innovation all studied in the European Union funded project SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas) Sign up for this course and learn about concepts, methods, best practices or join for examples in over 15 countries and over 30 different aspects and contexts We look forward to getting your feedback and learning from you as well.

Skip to 3 minutes and 33 seconds [Music]

What topics will you cover?

1 - Introduction to Social Innovation

2 - Characteristics of social innovation in rural areas

3 - Social innovation in rural areas in practice

4 - Good practices and adaptive management in social innovation projects

5 - Methods to evaluate social innovation in rural areas

6 - Policy needs and policies for supporting social innovation in rural areas

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop critical understanding of the concept of social innovation and its influence on social, economic and environmental outcomes in rural areas
  • Identify diverse roles of communities and civil society in the development of social innovation initiatives
  • Improve awareness of the multiple applications of rural social innovation to support social well-being
  • Explore a range of tools and methods to better support social innovation
  • Develop competences for identifying, categorising and analysing cases of social innovation in Europe and non-European Mediterranean countries
  • Classify factors that affect the development of social innovation in rural areas
  • Assess social innovation through innovative techniques of evaluation
  • Compare the policy contexts for social innovation in rural areas and their role in stimulating or constraining its development

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for anyone interested in innovation in rural development.

This may include decision-makers, public, private and third sector development agents, evaluators, facilitators, technical advisors, researchers or students involved in social innovation projects in rural areas.

Who will you learn with?

I am Agriculture Engineer, Postgraduate in Rural Development. I work at IAMZ-CIHEAM since 2004, being involved in the management and implementation of 17 EU projects. I also own a sheep farm.

I hold a Ph.D. on governance capacity for forest-based social innovation from the University of Padova. I have a strong interest in rural development, environmental policy, and innovation governance.

I am Associate Professor at TESAF Dept., School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Padova. My fields of expertise are social innovation evaluation, rural development, forest policy & governance.

Agricultural Economist of the Dep. TESAF of the University of Padova (Italy), interested in measuring social innovation and social capital in rural development projects.

Postdoctoral Researcher at TESAF Department, University of Padova. I work mainly on social innovation, NWFP supply chain and PES, through SNA, participatory approaches, sampling design and statistics!

Assistant researcher at TESAF Department-Padua University. Trained in international relations and local development, I am interested in rural development, international cooperation and social farming.

David is the Knowledge Exchange Coordinator at the James Hutton Institute. He has a background in geography and mathematics, working on community engagement in science, land use and landscape change.

Formally trained as an economist, I have lately "greened" my background working in the forestry sector as researcher at EFIMED in Barcelona. Beside my work, I enjoy bike trips and gardening

Bill Slee is active in rural community development in NE Scotland as a trustee of several third sector bodies and is also engaged in rural socio-economic research

Marijke Dijkshoorn is a senior researcher at Wageningen University & Researh on urban rural interactions, knowledge valorisation and (social) innovation in the field of food, greenery and agriculture

Robert Lukesch, associate of the ÖAR GmbH; I am consultant and researcher focusing on inclusive and sustainable governance with a strong focus on Community-Led Local Development

Rosalind is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland.

Alice Ludvig, senior researcher at University of Life Sciences and Natural Resources, Vienna (BOKU). I am a researcher and lecturer focusing on policy sciences and governance studies.

PhD Forest Governance, MSc Economics, MSc Forestry. I'm a researcher on forest policy and socio-economics, working on social capital, forest ownersship, ecosystem services and non-wood forest products

Postdoctoral researcher at Perth College-University of the Highlands and Islands. She has been working since 2016 in SIMRA, studying the diversity of examples of social innovation in rural areas.

I am European Projects Technician at IAMZ-CIHEAM. I hold a Degree in Veterinary Medicine, a Master in Agroecology, Rural Development and Agritourism and a Master on Scientific Communication.

Who developed the course?

University of Padova

The University of Padova is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious seats of learning; it aims to provide its students with both professional training and a solid cultural background.

Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza

Founded in 1962, the CIHEAM is a Mediterranean intergovernmental organisation devoted to the sustainable development of agriculture and fisheries, food and nutrition security and rural and coastal areas.

SIMRA - Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas

SIMRA seeks to advance understanding of social innovation and innovative governance in agriculture, forestry and rural development, and how to boost them, particularly in marginalised rural areas across Europe.

EU (Horizon 2020 Project)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$79/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 5 Aug 2024

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